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Conflicting reports emerge about Jeff Hafley’s Packers staff

So are Green Bay’s defensive assistants going to return in 2024? It depends on who you listen to.

NFL: NOV 05 Cardinals at 49ers Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Two clashing reports have surfaced about Jeff Hafley’s potential defensive staff since he was hired by the Green Bay Packers. The first comes from ESPN’s Pete Thamel, the college football reporter who first announced that the former Boston College head coach would be making his return to the NFL.

In Thamel’s article on Hafley filing the Packers’ defensive coordinator vacancy, he stated that Green Bay’s entire coaching staff is not only under contract for the 2024 season — meaning that the team would need to fire coaches and pay them out their remaining salary to move on from them — but that “some — or all of [the Packers’ assistant defensive coaches] — could return to work under Hafley.”

Meanwhile, Tom Silverstein, who covers the Packers daily for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel isn’t so sure that’s the situation. According to Silverstein, head coach Matt LaFleur “has told the assistants they are free to explore other options” and that there’s a very real chance that the team is going to look at bringing in outside assistants. He also noted that LaFleur did bring back the 2020 defensive coaching staff, led then by Mike Pettine, when the team hired Joe Barry in 2021.

Last year, the Packers had five full-time on-field coaching assistants who worked under Barry: defensive line coach/running game coordinator Jerry Montgomery, pass rush specialist Jason Rebrovich, inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti, passing game coordinator Greg Williams and defensive backs coach Ryan Downard. It’s worth noting here that Downard previously worked with Hafley in Cleveland, which probably means he’s one of the more likely coaching candidates to return to the team.

A potential return for Montgomery, who was first hired by the Packers in 2015 under defensive coordinator Dom Capers and head coach Mike McCarthy, would be fairly astounding. Montgomery is the longest-tenured coach in Green Bay’s organization and is now, potentially, going to have the opportunity to work with his fourth defensive coordinator during his time with the franchise.